Supportive housing projects, like The Village in Chilliwack, don’t drive down property values of nearby homes, a new study says. File photo)

Supportive housing projects, like The Village in Chilliwack, don’t drive down property values of nearby homes, a new study says. File photo)

CT scanner enables local stroke treatment

Smithers hospital participates in pilot program to connect with Vancouver neurosurgeons by video

Before the Bulkley Valley District Hospital (BVDH) got its CT scanner, the hospital’s stroke treatment was essentially getting a patient to Terrace as quickly as possible.

Due to the nature of strokes, which can be caused by brain bleeds or blockages and require a CT scan to determine which is present, a patient exhibiting symptoms would be shipped off to Terrace for a CT scan, where the cause of the stroke could be determined.

The only problem? Time.

In the case of strokes where the cause is a blockage, the clot-busting medication the patient requires must be given within four hours of symptoms.

READ MORE: Smithers CT scanner hits 1,000 scans

That isn’t much time once a patient has been picked up by an ambulance, brought to BVDH, assessed and sent off to Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace, said Dr. Mallory Quinn of BVDH.

“Up until this point we weren’t quite able to give good stroke care in the Northwest,” said Quinn.

“By the time they would come in here, we would assess them, we would get them back in the ambulance, we’d drive them to Terrace, they’d get a scan [and] they’d be outside of that four-hour window.”

Realizing a new CT scanner, which the hospital got back in July, meant they would be dealing with strokes in a new, more intimate capacity, Quinn reached out to an old preceptor who she trained with at a northern medical program.

“He kind of said, ‘oh, actually there’s this pilot you could try out of VGH (Vancouver General Hospital)’,” Quinn said.

The Hot Stroke protocol refers to a new pilot program in which VGH stroke neurosurgeons are connected with rural hospitals via an ultra-HD, high-speed video link as part of a province-wide tele-medicine program.

Quinn said BVDH is the northernmost site for the pilot program.

Because the BVDH’s emergency room is entirely staffed by family doctors, Quinn said the decision to take part in the program was a no-brainer, as it would help these doctors (many of which have never had to administer things like clot-busting medication for strokes) make critical, time-sensitive decisions about stroke patients.

The connected neurosurgeon has access to any scans (in this case usually CT imaging) or tests the hospital has run on the patient and can make the same recommendations they would if the patient were at VGH in their direct care.

“When we have a stroke come in we get them in the scanner right away, they get their scan and then we get a neurologist from VGH on,” Quinn explained.

“They come on the screen they’ll do an exam of the patient in conjunction with us and then they’ll look at the imaging and they’ll give us the advice as to what treatments would be appropriate in that case.”

Quinn said the program is helpful because of a secondary treatment for clot-based strokes where clots are located in large vessels.

“They’ll basically take them down to Vancouver and suck the clot out surgically.”

Quinn said because of a 12-hour time window to get the surgery done they were running into the same issue as with the clot-busting medicine: not enough time to send someone to VGH once the person has been diagnosed in Terrace.

Now she said this is changing and a couple of people have been able to make it down for the procedure, known as an endarterectomy, since the pilot program began.

Overall, the program has helping massively in terms of dealing with strokes in the Bulkley Valley, Quinn said.

“It’s kind of revolutionized what we can do for strokes locally and actually getting people out in a timely manner for what they need.”

READ MORE: CT scanner officially opens in Smithers

The camera is high-definition enough that Quinn said doctors on the VGH end have remarked they are able to see things as specific as slight pupil dilation.

“They have such good resolution on the camera on the top of that, that they were, like, ‘yeah I can see their pupils, I can zoom in and check their eyes,’ so it’s a whole other level compared to Skype.”

Quinn also said a recently-installed improved landing system at Smithers Regional Airport has also increased the success rate for incoming planes being able to land successfully and not have to turn back.

Robbie Dunbar, clinical practice leader and registered nurse at BVDH said anyone who thinks they or another person is having a stroke should not wait and it’s crucial to get someone to the hospital as soon as possible if they are displaying any stroke-related symptoms such as facial drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulties.

“It’s easy for us to tell people you’re OK, it actually wasn’t a stroke or something, but when someone decides to go to bed and check it in the morning sometimes they’ve gone out of that window.”

The BVDH’s CT scanner officially went into service July 12, 2019. In early October, the scanner performed its 1,000th scan.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
COVID-19 vaccinations get underway in Smithers

First doses are being administered to long-term care residents and priority health care staff

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Fentanyl was among the drugs seized by New Hazelton RCMP in a big bust in early January. (File photo)
New Hazelton RCMP arrest five, seize drugs and large amount of cash

Police find suspected heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth during early January drug bust

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read